A view of the exterior of the emergency department at the Arrow Lakes Hospital. (File photo)

Nakusp hospital staff praised for response during emergency

Power generator failed on New Year’s, but human spirit didn’t

An official with Interior Health is praising staff and suppliers after a power generator failed at the Arrow Lakes Hospital early on New Year’s Day.

“Our staff was phenomenal in terms of the responses they had,” says Barbie Kalmakoff, IH’s director of clinical operations for the area that includes Arrow Lakes Hospital.

Kalmakoff says the emergency generator at the hospital kicked in about 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, in the midst of a heavy snowstorm that knocked trees into power lines. Power was out in Nakusp for more than 12 hours as a result.

But the emergency backup didn’t last.

“The generator failed about 3:00 in the morning,” she says. “It turned out a water pump wasn’t working properly, which caused the generator to run too hot, knocking it out.”

Kalmakoff says the generator is checked regularly and was tested just a week earlier. It’s also been in use occasionally as renovations are done to the emergency ward at the hospital.

The hospital’s maintenance man came in and briefly got the generator working again, but it didn’t last. The hospital would have to try to operate without power.

“Staff appeared on site, knowing the power was out, without us having to call them in, to support the staff that was working,” she says. “So that’s really a phenomenal response.”

Even more remarkable, the one source for a new generator in the region answered the phone on New Year’s morning when the hospital rang. United Rental in Genelle had a spare generator, and were able to ship it up to the facility that day.

That allowed the power to get up and running again by about 3 p.m. the same day. Interior Health’s chief electrician, who was also on holidays, came in to effect the repairs.

Kalmakoff says patients weren’t affected by the power failure, and plans to move long-term care or emergency room patients who needed care were cancelled once the new generator was secured.

“We didn’t lose heat, and we managed with some lighting in the system,” she says. “And luckily, there were no car accidents or significant events occurred, but they had plans in place to manage that as well.”

The extra staff who came in helped keep patients company and comfortable until power returned.

“It really speaks to the human spirit and I can’t thank people enough who helped us out with that,” she says. “The staff are just so ingenious how they did that, and just a lot of teamwork.”

Kalmakoff says the bill for the new generator hasn’t come in yet.

Just Posted

Survivor compensated for Sixties Scoop

Meraw recently received compensation from the Sixties Scoop Settlement

Interim payments issued to survivors

Interim payments issued for claims made through Collectiva’s Class Action Sixties Scoop Settlement

Advocacy for Secwepemc language

Archie believes Secwepemc language learning can steer First Nation children toward a positive life

Pruden plans to step down

Pruden will not run as an incumbent for the Métis women’s chair during this year’s MNBC election

Sport camps to help youth become better overall athletes

Athletic camps for youth coming to valley this month

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. group renews call for protection of newly discovered glass sponge reefs

DFO says public consultation will play heavy role in future protection measures

Most Read